Yes, we are here!

In times like these our hobbies become lifesavers. At GAS ENGINE MAGAZINE and FARM COLLECTOR, we have been tracking down the most interesting and rare vintage farm machines and collections for more than 80 years combined! That includes researching and sourcing the best books on collectibles available anywhere. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-800-888-9098 or by email. Stay safe!

1919 1-1/2 HP Economy

A fine first engine

| July 2009

  • economy
    Tim Marvin's first engine, a 1919 1-1/2 HP Economy.
    Tim Marvin

  • economy

Most people remember the firsts in life: their first bike, their first car and their first kiss. But only engine collectors can add their first engine. And mine was a 1919 1-1/2 HP Economy. 

I work for a John Deere dealership that has been in the family for over 70 years. One day, I was sent to pick up a tractor in Farmington, Conn. When I got to the address, the house looked like a small version of the White House – not a house I would be buying any time soon. I met with Mr. and Mrs. Scott. Mr. Scott took me to the shed were the tractor was kept, and I happened to notice a set of flywheels in a pile of stuff that came out of the shed.

After loading the tractor on the truck, I asked Mr. Scott about the engine. He told me that the engine was in the shed when he bought the house. He was going to get it started but was told that it was missing parts, so he just left it in the shed. But now that he had sold the house, he had to clean everything out. Then he said the one thing that makes every engine collector’s day: “If you are interested in the engine you can have it.” It was on the truck in minutes.

On the way back home, I stopped by my uncle Loren’s house to show him my new find. After a quick look at the engine, he said it looked in good shape – all I needed was an igniter and magneto. He told me to go see Al Verrell who has a large collection of engines and may have the parts I needed.

That Sunday I stopped by Al’s house and he came out to look at my engine. He told me that it was an Economy originally sold by Sears, Roebuck & Co. and that Sears had sold a lot of engines from different manufacturers. He said the Economy was a pretty common engine, and that it was a good engine to learn from. He then invited me in to see his collection. I spent the next three hours talking with Al and looking at his engines. There were many small ones that he had built himself. He looked to see if he had the parts I needed, but no luck. I visited Al many times to see what he was working on and to talk about engines.

Al sent me to see Ralph Waters, who was a collector/dealer. You could have spent days at Ralph’s place and never see everything. Ralph had his hands on more engines than most people see in a lifetime. Best of all was that he had the Webster magneto and igniter that I needed for my engine.


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

Facebook YouTube


click me